How would you (briefly) summarise the Christian political identity? What would/wouldn’t you include?
Israel fails in its task to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with the Lord (Micah 6:8) and judgement awaits. As they are carried off to exile however, they are called to submit to their new rulers and live distinctly for the glory of God and good of their neighbour. Their hope throughout this time is in a future kingdom that will never fall.
Passage: 2 Kings 17:1-23
Judgement against Injustice
- What happens to Israel?
- Why does this happen?
- Think back to Session 4. Why is this event such a tragedy?
- God’s people were set apart for His good purposes and given the law that they might flourish and go long in the land
Israel’s failure to relate rightly to God and neighbour had brought destruction upon their nation and resulted not only in physical separation but spiritual separation from their God. In 2 Kings 25 we see the southern kingdom, Judah, befall the same fate as they are invaded by Babylon, before being carted off into exile. Failing to live according to God’s design results in injustice, immense suffering and separation.
Whilst God sends specific judgement on Israel for their injustice, in the books of Amos, Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel God also judges other nations according to His demand for justice. What lessons might God’s judgement hold for our own nation?
Passage: Daniel 6:1-28
General submission, specific rebellion
- What do we learn about Daniel?
Daniel had a senior position within the Babylonian Empire and was involved in the heights of government under multiple kings (see chapters 1-5). Here is a Jewish man submitting to the rule of the Babylonians and even furthering their rule by serving them.
- What leads Daniel to rebel against the Babylonian king?
- What is the consequence of Daniel’s rebellion? What sustains him?
- 1 Peter calls Christians foreigners and exiles. How does Daniel provide a model of how to engage in politics as exiles who fear God?
- General submission
- Specific rebellion – serves God first and foremost
- How might this help us think about rebelling or resisting government authority?
Daniel’s story commends the importance of serving God before human authority, regardless of the consequences. And just as Daniel’s faithfulness leads God to be glorified, we pray that as we too serve God within our political climate His name would be honoured even if ours is slandered, or worse.
Passage: Jeremiah 29:4-14
Seek the good of the city
Amidst the judgement of Jeremiah (and before the promise of restoration) the LORD gives this little section on how to live in the land as exiles.
- What are the exiles to do?
- Why are they to do this? Why might this be difficult? (Think about how hard this might be if you were in exile in the nation that had just destroyed your homeland...)
- If it prospers, so will you v7 (a peaceful and flourishing society is good for society and God’s people)
- God will bring restoration. In the meantime, because Salvation is coming, but it is not here yet, so for the time being their welfare is tied up with the city they are in.
- Why might this be?
- How do we see the following principles at work here...?
- The creation mandate?
- Common grace?
Thinking of 1 Peter again, how might this section in Jeremiah help us to understand the role of Christians in the UK?
- Pray that we would see the beauty of God’s rule and that we, and our nation, would submit to Him.
- Pray for courage to stand firm for God even if that means rebelling with negative consequences for ourselves.
- Thank God for His kindness in enabling all societies to flourish somewhat. Pray that we would get involved for the good of the city and Christ’s Church.